The demands of a busy year in the pool may have taken its toll on Chad le Clos, but the swimming sensation refused to drop his guard in the final leg of the World Cup series in China on Wednesday.
He underlined his dominance in the 200m butterfly even though he nervously won his specialist event in a time of one minute, 41.70s (1:51.70).
Characteristically known for leaving it late for the victory, Wednesday's swim seemed too close for comfort.
He nevertheless out touched China's Wang Shun (1:51.94) by 0.24s for the victory, while Pawel Korzeniowski of Poland grabbed third place in a time of 1:53.11.
Le Clos opened the evening's swimming on a positive note, claiming the silver medal in the 100m freestyle behind Russia's Vladimir Morozov.
The Russian was in a class of his own as he comfortably won the race in a time of 45.88s.
While the South African finished strongly to post a time of 46.60s, he did not have enough strength to challenge Morozov.
Tommaso D'Orsogna of Australia finished in third place with a time of 46.85s.
He was again beaten to the wall by Morozov when they locked horns in the 100m individual medley.
Le Clos enjoyed a comfortable lead in the opening legs of the race before his breaststroke saw him lose his position.
Mozorov pounced to claim first place in a time of 50.97s, with George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobego moving ahead of Le Clos in second place in a time of 51.72s.
The South African touched third in a time of 52.14s.
Meanwhile, South African sprinting ace Roland Schoeman ended the season as the undisputed champion in the men's 50m breaststroke.
Schoeman blasted to first place in a time of 25.95s beating his closest rival, Australia's Christian Sprenger, by 0.64s.
Sprenger touched in a time of 26.95s with Joao Gomes Junior of Brazil taking third place in a time of 26.65s.
The swimming legend again got onto the podium when he finished second in the 50m butterfly event behind Brazil's Nicholas Santos, who won gold in a time of 22.13s.
Schoeman touched behind Santos in 22.37s with Thomas Shields of the United States claiming the bronze medal with 22.78s.
Distance specialist Myles Brown also kept the South African flag flying in the 400m freestyle, where he finished in a creditable second place to be pipped to first place by 0.12s.
It turned into a two-horse race between Brown and Australia's Thomas Fraser-Holmes with the South African leading for most of the encounter.
The Australian, however, moved slightly ahead over the final lap to touch first in 3:39.86 with Brown posting a time of 3:39.98.
Robert Hurley of Australia had to be content with third place with 3:42.99. – Sapa